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Breaking the Habit

Image of report coverBreaking the Habit: Why the state should stop dealing drugs and start doing rehab

In this new report, leading drugs analyst Kathy Gyngell shows that:

  • New Labour’s approach to drug addiction – prescribing addicts with methadone in an attempt to reduce crime and improve addicts’ health – has been an expensive failure (new estimates for this paper indicate that the annual cost of maintaining treatment and paying benefits to the 320,000 problem drug users is £3.6 billion).
  • Coalition proposals to introduce Payment by Result (PbR) trials are well-intentioned but doomed to failure, not least because they are being run by the very organisations responsible for the current failure of policy
  • There is an alternative. The problem is one of addiction. The solution lies in freeing people from it. This is being achieved with remarkable success rates by small modern rehabilitation units – none of which have been allowed to apply to run the Coalition’s PbR trials.

Kathy Gyngell argues that PbR can work if the importance of abstinence-based rehabilitation is recognised and if bids from such operators are sought. And, crucially, if there is one simple measure of success: that of six months abstinence from all drugs and alcohol.
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Kathy Gyngell - Sunday 19th June 2011

Kathy Gyngell has a first class honours degree in social anthropology from Cambridge and an Oxford M.Phil. in sociology. She has worked for the former ITV companies, LWT and TV-am as a producer and senior programme executive. A full time mother after the birth of her second son, she founded the voluntary organization Full Time Mothers.